The body of the Rosalia is so well-preserved that you might even think she’s alive. So much so that people call her ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
Captured time-lapse photos appear to show her eyelids eerily opening and closing and various theories are doing the rounds on the internet. While some people believe that the little girl’s spirit still resides in her body, there are others, Italian researcher claim that it is due to an optical illusion produced by the light coming from the window nearby her chapel.
She’s known by many names; the Girl in the Glass Coffin, Sleeping Beauty, the World’s Most Beautiful Mummy, the Best Preserved Mummy in the World. In death she’s become something larger than life. Thousands of visitors each year flock to the Sicilian Catacombs just to catch a glimpse of her tiny body.
Nearly 100 years after her death, Rosalia has changed little. Still sealed inside her tiny glass coffin, Rosalia sleeps, her little head pokes above a fading silk blanket. Tuffs of blonde hair still flow down her cheeks, a silk bow still tied firmly around her head. The only sign time has passed is an oxidizing amulet of the Virgin Mary which rests atop Rosalia’s blanket. It’s so faded, it’s almost unrecognizable. This is the Rosalia Lombardo, the famous child mummy.
So who exactly was Rosalia? In the nearly 100 years since her death in 1920, Rosalia has become interwoven with Sicilian lore. They tell of a young child, born frail and weak, who endured more pain and sickness throughout her short life than most do in their lifetimes. Her premature death at age two left her father grief stricken. Unable to lose his daughter the father sought the help of embalmer Alfredo Salafia, to preserve Rosalia for eternity. The result was nothing short of miraculous. Through Salafia’s embalming process, Rosalia was perfectly preserved. Fitting to her new state of immortality, she was placed inside a glass coffin and interred inside the Capuchin Catacombs of Sicily.
Veritably, the truth about Rosalia’s life has been lost to time. Some say she was the daughter of a wealthy Sicilian noble, a general in the Italian military named Mario Lombardo. The general, according to legend, wanted to preserve his only daughter for eternity and consequentially contacted Alfredo Salafia to embalm her. There are no known photographs of Rosalia alive nor any official documents confirming definitively who her parents were.